tv John King USA CNN December 16, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
bucks. lewis says macy's men's accessories has asked to see samples. >> i think it's a lot better improvement. >> no offense, you have a great body, but it's just not really what i want to see. >> yes he has a very cuteutt but, no, i don't want that for my man. >> reporter: here is a back view. >> i don't think i want to see the back view. >> reporter: subs might not work on every body. ♪ looking like a fool with your pants on the ground ♪ >> think larry king would wear those? >> reporter: can we get the rearview again? it's one of your best angles. i'm suzanne malveaux in "the situation room." john king usa starts right now. thanks, suzanne and good evening, everyone. tonight the president release as new report on his afghanistan strategy. and he claims progress. but many in congress think the white house is glossing over the giant challenge. we'll debate whether the president's time line for withdrawing the troops is too fast or not soon enough. >> otherwise it's a sinkhole,
it's a quagmire and as many writers have famously said, it's a graveyard of empires and i don't want my country going down that hole. >> and we know the question whether to repeal the military's don't can ask, don't tell policy divides senator john mccain and his daughter, megan. what about jimmy mccain? does he agree with the harsh warnings against repeal? >> i'm very reluctant to discuss my children's views. >> stay with us and you'll see jimmy mccain's views just ahead. first, your money and a bit of political chaos on the question whether the house will pass the tax house deal president obama negotiated with republicans. most liberals don't like what they see as a multibillion dollar giveaway to wealthy americans that will only add more fresh europe in the name of deficit reduction to cut other programs that help middle class families and the poor. >> so irresponsible it contradicts everything as democrats we've been fighting for for generations. >> the tax bill was pulled from the floor earlier today because
speaker nancy pelosi wasn't sure she had enough to pass it. look now. there's a live picture of the house back in session with a final vote on that tax bill now expected late tonight, perhaps after midnight and across the capitol, the senate back in, too. they're going to deal with a massive spending bill. the republicans call it a monstrosity but has dozens and dozens of republican-barked earmarks. go figure. we have a great group to help. james carville, eric erickson and john avalon. with me here in washington gloria borger and correspondent jessica young. before we debate, let's get a quick update on the senate re read-a-thon. >> reporter: it is about about to kick off. take a look at what we're talking about. this is the spending bill that the senate clerk is going to be reading. it is almost 2,000 pages and according to dick did yourbin,
number two democrat in the senate, it's going to take between 30 and 60 hours to read. that puts us maybe well into saturday going around the clock here before it's read. and right now this is because republican senator jim demint is trying to run out the clock while senate democrats are struggling to get as much done as they can and then you have senate majority leader harry reid now calling republicans hypocrites because of what you talked about, john, those republican earmarks in this spending bill that republicans are now saying some of them are saying they don't want to vote on because of the earmarks in it. and then moving over to the house, also a bit of a marathon there. we're not expecting to see a vote or votes on extending the bush era tax cuts until after midnight tonight. this all centered around downright revolt, really, from liberal democrats who say they were feeling jammed by leaders who were only going to give them one chance to change this bill which would have been to change
the estate tax provision and make it perhaps less generous to wealthy americans. well, as it turns out, they said they want more than that even though it's looking like they're not going to be able to secure any changes but they're looking for is to send a message. they want to send a couple messages, perhaps, that they really don't like this bill, john. >> all right, brianna keilar. at least we know if you're waiting for votes you have plenty of reading material. let's start our conversation on the house side, ladies and gentlemen. and, james carville, to you first. this is a tough one. this is a very tough one. there's a lot in the bill liberal democrats don't like. nancy pelosi has the gavel for a couple more weeks and the president is asking them, i need to you do this for me and they don't want to. >> no, they don't but they're going to do it after midnight. it doesn't strike me as being the end of the world, that it will take another 24 hours. look, why would anybody -- it's not going to create a single
job. if somebody can't get by for $5 million, that's too bad. >> all right. so let's listen to some of this debate. the chairwoman of the rules committee, again for a couple of weeks, she had the problem today. they wrote a rule for debate and thought they would get it pass this had afternoon. she said she understands the complaint. she says this is what the democrats are being asked to do and the republicans want and the president wants, well, fantasy land. >> to try to pretend to the american people that once we pass this great tax cut for the rich that jobs are suddenly going to rain on us makes us feel like alice in wonder land. able to believe ten impossible things before breakfast. i can just not one of them. >> at stake here is whether these tax cuts get extended. we know in the end they will. all of them. the liberals don't like that. what you also sense here is the begrudging final days of democratic majority and almost the reluctance to let go. >> to let go.
there's so much frustration and anger but this is why the democrats didn't win in part in the midterms because people get the sense that they're not getting the business done. they're not given a clear message. they don't know where they're standing. there's too much internal division. even james just said this isn't going to create new jobs. well, the senate majority leader is saying the opposite thing. this tax package will. so there's a lot of frustration that the democrats aren't on the same page. >> in truth, what they don't want to say is what they -- some really believe, this is another stimulus package an $858 billion stimulus package and they got a payroll tax deduction, the extension of the earned income tax credit and tax cuts for small business that they really wanted so why not declare victory and go home. >> and one of the questions as we watch this play out, the debate in the house and the big spending bill in the senate, is this not just the substance but the tone, the animosity. is that going to carry over into the new year?
is it raw emotion after the election, maybe understandable, or will it carry over when we have divided government? here is the case in point. senator mitch mcconnell is saying what the democrats tried to put through. 1,900 pages, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of earmarks in it. mitch mcconnell says big mistake. >> we're going to have an opportunity to do this. i would hope it would make sense on a bipartisan basis. this one page continuing resolution on february the 18th is an alternative to this 2,000-page monstrosity that spends half a billion a page. >> so what he's saying is forget all the earmarks, the detailed written budget. let's pass wuj page and keep the government going at a certain funding level and deal with it next year. the republicans will have more power then and senator mccome knows that. leader reid says, you know what, go away. >> you can't have it both ways. you can all look it up in the dictionary yourself but i'll bet
if you went to "h" in the dictionary and found hypocrite, under that would be people who ask for earmarks but vote against them. >> not pretty. >> i have to say i love some of the consistent two-party activists are calling this deporkricy. and it is a classic example. but i think the question becomes, do you want to move the business of the senate forward and possibly get a vote on s.t.a.r.t. or don't ask, don't tell or go read through this bill which really has become a monstrosity of a kind of arrogance that was repudiated in this election, an overspending impulse a lot of the appropriators do still have. >> eric, here is the test for the right. you did postings saying vote against the tax cut plan. you don't like it because it raises the deficit. vote against the spending plan because of the pork in there. the question is, will the republicans here, new and old, listen? do they think the tea party energy, the tea party threat
there in the campaign last in government? so when you put these posts up on rhett states, are you seeing the kind of response, the kind of activity you saw during the campaign or maybe are the establishment guys right? will that peter out? >> well, it depends. among the old guys and, frankly, a lot of the guys leaving office, will have no impact whatsoever. the younger guys, yes. then a lot won't be here until january. among people like marlon setsman who won a special election in indiana, guys like that are start to go get the message. there's a lot of wavering among house republicans now that the democrats are obstructing the tax compromise. a lot of them were thinking they could fall away from it. on the senate side, the mitch mcconnell proposal, the one-page idea, was because they haven't pa passed a budget this year. the first time since 1974 a budget hasn't passed congress, pass it over until next year and get rid of it. i suspect the earmarks have been over $100 million, we might not have seen that. >> james, when you hear the bad blood, harry reid to the republicans, a lot of democrats
to the president, you've won elections and lost elections. is that it's still raw and we'll go home for christmas or is this the new world order? >> it's the old world order, a continuation of the order we had before. i never said that the tax bill would not create jobs. the estate tax. i was specifically addressing that. i think it's a distinction. that's what the democrats are hung up on. my objection to the bill is all it does is double down on failure being a bush tax cut. we had partisanship and we had this acrimony before. we're having it now and suspect we'll have it the first of the year. also unemployment and this is what one would expect it to look like to a lot of these people out in the country. this is not a happy time in america. >> but, john -- >> take a step back from the politics in washington and the anger on the far left and far right and we see a lot of broad bipartisan support from this compromise with the tax cuts and
the unemployment extension. let's not lose sight of that. new polls showing a decisive shift of support in favor of the president and this compromise even though the extremes are unhappy about it. >> it's not just the extremes. the republicans have divisions. democrats have divisions about how to proceed. >> maybe we should be having cake and ice cream if the american people for this brief moment like what's happening in washington this could be a big moment. everybody is coming back when we come back. we'll break this down in more detail. this tax deal especially is an early divide. if you live for performance, upgrade to castrol edge advanced synthetic oil.
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more on the tax debate in a moment with an eye on how it is already a dividing line in the presidential field. but first the latest round in the legal debate over the obama health care plan. last week the federal judge in virginia ruled a central provision of that law is unconstitutional. critics including a long list of republican governors and attorn attorneys general are hoping a federal judge in florida concurs with that virginia ruling. cnn's brian todd was on hand today as the case got a hearing. brian? >> reporter: john, the indications we got in the courthouse today was this may not be the best week for president obama's health care man. this judge, roger vincent, had his sharpist criticisms for the government attorneys advocating for the president's health care plan. this mandate that everyone has
to buy health insurance. the judge said this, there are lots of alternatives without imposing on liberties or freedom of choice. another comment was telling about the current right people have now not to buy insurance. he said, quote, there are some people who have a different way of dealing with a situation and that is being taken away from them. so it doesn't look great right now for that particular provision of the president's plan which is key to holding the whole thing up if it goes to the supreme court. i spoke to a law professor in the courtroom. that provision looks to be in danger right now. >> brian todd for us. in danger in that court. in danger in the havevirginia decision. likely heading to the supreme court. as that plays out, health care will be a flash point. taxes and spending are causing friction. kuwait a bit of friction among the republicans thinking about seeking the gop nomination. here is a breakdown on the tax deal making its way through congress right now. mike huckabee ran last time, might rupp again. newt gingrich is for it. he's maneuvering around the
country. tim polente. against it rick santorum, mike pence, saerm and mitt romney. i guess that graphic is not ready. erick erickson, how rough is it you have an even divide? >> i think that reflects what's going on within the republican party right now as well. this is not going to be a hill to die on for anyone in 2012. i don't think you're going to start having sarah palin or mike pence or the others beating up on the guys who supported it. no one is going to remember what they're talking about. for right now, though, the most fascinating line is that by john thune in the senate with his barbs to mitt romney who had come out against it trying to lay the field there. he will have a very tough time, frankly, as an incumbent senator running on this. interestingly to me is a guy like mike huckabee supporting this when he didn't have to support this.
newt gingrich maybe so but the dynamic here is mike huckabee on sarah palin is the one i'm keeping my eye on. >> i hate to use it because he is just, is he not, in the bob dole box? >> right. >> he's in the leadership. he's not number one but he's in the senate leadership so he is supposed to do the bidding of the leadership yet is thinking of running for president which means he has to take a lot of positions, roundup votes, cast votes tough to defend in iowa, new hampshire and beyond. >> they are keeping track of who will vote for this, who will vote for the tax cuts and they're keeping an eye on them. while there's not total unanimity many of the powerful ones do not want a yes vote. senator thune will have to explain should he seek the 2012 election. it is a bob dole problem for him. >> there are going to be lots of votes cast between now and 2012 and i daresay that a lot of these people who support this are going to be able to vote for spending cuts and that will make
some of the tea party folks happier. >> so, james carville, you've run presidential campaigns. does this matter? here we are and look at this polling number right here. if you see a generic ballot, obama against the generic republican, 42% the president, 39% for the probable republican candidate. that's a dead heat. if you match him up against mitt romney, 47%. against sarah palin everybody knows sarah palin. 55% to 33%. the president gets his highest numbers there. my question to you, mr. carville, does any of had matter on the palin question? will republican primary voters, will electability be an issue or is it about ideology? >> electability is an issue. i'm supporting sarah palin. look. i think this is the warm-up. i think the mother of all is the
debt limit. >> amen. >> i think this is all foreplay here. the big event is coming up. >> i totally agree with james on that. what they do with the debt limit will make or break these guys. in particularly those in congress right now and even some of the ones who are speculating that they'll vote for it depending on what deal they get cut from the democrats which i'm starting to think you're going to see the republicans, new guys in particular, mike lee and rand paul come in and flat out say they're not going to vote for the debt limit and which candidate will rise above that. >> rand paul says he has $500 billion of cuts in his back pocket that he's going to propose at the time of the raising of the debt limit so we'll see. >> john, just getting back to the presidential polls, i think they're telling. i think they tell two things. one, the elephant in the room about 2012 is the republicans have a pretty weak field compared to president obama. and the other thing is that the bump we're seeing post this election i think shows the political advantage that comes from the checks and balances of
divided government. now that the republicans control the house of representatives, there is less of a sense of urgency especially among voters in the center because there's a sense there's a check, a balance in place and president obama benefits politically from that just as bill clinton did. >> when john says it's a wheat field, i don't remember, maybe james can jump in, where did bill clinton poll in the preside presidential race at this point back in the midterm election before he ran the first time in '92? do you remember that? >> i remember president bush had an 88% approval in march of 1991. but by november we had won the special in pennsylvania. was it the british prime minister said politics are week or a year. i think, john, erick, jessica, gloria, not overly telling right
now. there's a lot going to happen and i think this debt limit is a big one. it's one thing to say i have $500 billion in cuts. it's another thing to vote for them. >> i think sarah palin's negative ratings are telling because that's something she has to overcome. and when your negative ratings are around 50% as hers are, that's really tough. >> and kate gosselin appears on tv with her every week. >> exactly. >> we know what you're watching. >> the one question i have about it, when you look at this and none of them are doing he especially well, romney does reasonably well, but does it encourage others to say maybe i will run? you look at it on the one hand, there's a lot of people running. there's no room for me. does it encourage a jeb bush to say, why not? >> nobody thought president obama was going to get in the race at this point. i thought it was roughly -- that last cycle. and, look, when you have so many of these key groups divided, freedom works is one place, the tea party express is another. laes so much fracturing. it creates a lot of room for
someone new to emerge. >> remember, 1992 or '91, people were talking about. >> then they saw the speedo in new hampshire. fellow massachusetts guy. he was a great guy. didn't quite get there. carville ran a good campaign. sometimes you have to give credit and a good candidate. we have to take a quick break here. we'll pick this conversation up another day. the latest on the wikileaks founder julian assange. as a manager, my team counts on me to stay focused.
welcome back. let's check in with joe johns for the latest news you need to know. wikileaks leader julian assange walked out of the high court to a cheering crowd after being freed on bail. assange is wanted in sweden over alleged sex crimes there. in washington more than 100 protesters arrested at a rally to support wikileaks and protest the wars in iraq and afghanistan. the food and drug administration is recommending that the popular breast cancer drug avastin no longer be used
for the treatment of the disease say i saying -- those of you who followed twitter said cnn allegedly reported morgan freeman had passed away this afternoon. well, it was a hoax. we department report that and morgan freeman's spokesperson said he is very much alive. cnn is aggressively investigating the hoax. he joins a growing list of famous people who got done that way. >> for all the charms and the wonder of social networking and technology. the way you can anonymously say cnn this or xyz that. that's the dangerous part of it so don't always believe it. check it out especially if it's controversial and, mr. freeman, still with us. i can't wait for the next movie. joe, thanks. a lot more to come including a conversation with senator john mccain. he's a key player in many of the key debates on capitol hill. will the s.t.a.r.t. treaty pass?
and this is a special day here at cnn. we'll call it larry king day. the end of an era. our good friend wraps up his final live broadcast tonight. some facts and figures about a remarkable staying power of larry king. and on the street, he wants to know this. will congress be home for christmas? stalling tactics. does pete like them or not? eenl] i would love to have been a musician but i knew that i was going to need a day job. we actually have a lot of scientists that play music. the creativity, the innovation, there's definitely a tie there. one thing our scientists are working on is carbon capture and storage, which could prevent co2 from entering the atmosphere. we've just built a new plant to demonstrate how we can safely freeze out the co2 from natural gas. it looks like snow. it's one way that we're helping provide energy with fewer emissions.
to hear senate democrats, republicans are stalling votes in this year-end congressional session. republicans see it differently. they say what they're doing is demanding time for open debate and they see democrats pushing what our next guest calls a liberal wish list designed to curry favor with democratic interest groups. so what will pass and what will stall in the lame duck session? let's get the sense from republican john mccain. it's good to see you. i want to start with an issue critically important to you, the new assessment of the afghanistan war strategy that came out today. you've seen the strategy. you've been to the region many
times and heard from the president today. the president believes the troop surge and the idea the drawdown will begin in 2011 is one of the reasons he thinks things are working better. i saw your statement where you say don't focus on a day, focus on progress on the ground. listen here, though, to the vice chair of the joint chiefs, does this concern you? >> what they've said is that at 2011 to 2014 there is a drawdown. what will be negotiated is the rate that have drawdown. troops will come out. >> troops will come out. he's adamant about that. is that all right? >> general cartwright, i don't know where he's coming from but i've always said if the enemy thinks you're leaving, they'll wait you out. i hope that we made very clear the operative year is 2014. >> let's move on to another big national security issue. the senate is considering the s.t.a.r.t. treaty, a nuclear arms reduction treaty. i know you've had questions about the missile defense aspects of that but listen to
one of your republican colleagues jeff session. it would reduce its nuclear arsenal but listen to senator sessions and tell me do you believe the cuts are so severe what he says is actually possible? >> if iran and north korea risk their security and financial futures on building a nuclear arsenal today, will our example cause them to stop? i think not. i must con cled it will embolden them and could embolden others. >> that a fair statement even in the sense you have all the cuts the united states would still have the largest or second largest nuclear arsenal in the world? >> i agree with senator sessions particularly in the area where i don't believe that another treaty would have any beneficial effect on other rogue nations that are attempting to acquire or have developed nuclear weapons such as north korea or iran.
but, having said that, i don't think it would embolden them either. this treaty is going to fall on its own merits and as you mentioned my concerns are about missile defense, the signing statement that the russians made that any improvement we might make in missile defenses in europe would be grounds for them aggregating the treaty. but, again, i don't think whether we ratify the treaty or not is going to affect other rogue nations' behavior in the slightest. >> you have been saying in recent hours, pick up your pitchfork so you have long been a critic of earmarks. john mccain was rallying against earmarks. when the democrats brought forward this 1,900-page bill you jumped on it, said it was an outrage. i want to be clear. there are loads and dozens and dozens of republican earmarks in there and my understanding of it is any of the republicans could have gone to the appropriations
committee and said, look, we just promised not to have these earmarks so take mine out, yet they're still in there. is this a bipartisan plague? >> it is. and we have republican senators who may vote in favor of this atrocity. monstrosity and atrocity. by the way, i was speaking rhetorically when i said go pick up your pitchforks. let me make that clear, but, look, this is really a total contradiction, an abrogation of the commitment and the message of november the 2nd. and we republicans have got to understand we have a second chance because of our excesses of the bush administration and i'm not sure they will forgive us another time and you saw the approval rating of 13%. you can't get much lower. if we do this to them, i don't know where it goes. down to blood relatives and paid staffers. >> don't ask, don't tell is a big debate on the senate floor and a debate within your own family. your daughter was on msnbc and
she said this is the civil rights issue of her generation. can you now vote after listening to the pentagon, after listening to everybody else, will you now vote to repeal don't ask, don't tell and allow gay americans to serve openly? >> john, i paid close attention to our military leaders as i said i would. a commandante said it will cost lives. it could cause disruption. the chief of staff of the air force said wait until 2012. so our military leaders have spoken fairly strongly three out of the four service chiefs. they are military leaders. so what i'm hoping is we can turn this back now, look at a path in the future that when it's right to do so, we're in two wars. and i believe that right now would not be the right time to repeal it and that's my position and i will hold it. >> you mentioned the xhan dant. i ask this next question not to be disrespectful but i know you take the long trips, does the
research, talks to the troops as well as their bosses. you mentioned the marine corps is against this. your son is in the marines, has served in the front lines and this is a generational issue. older americans have a harder time than younger americans. what does your son think about this? >> you know, my son is now out of the marine corps. the proudest moment of his life was serving in the marine corps. his words to me, as so many thousands of others words have been to me, it isn't broke, don't fix it. >> so he wants to keep it in place as it is now? >> they believe that it is working and i'm reluctant to discuss my children's views. >> i understand that. i ask only because of his service. after the presidential election there was talk once the wounds healed a little bit that you would have a relation shship wi president obama, perhaps be someone he reached out to, perhaps help him on the security issues. when we come back in january, the republicans will control the house and the republicans will
just be short of controlling the senate so the president is going to need some help. he will have to reach out more. what's the status of that relationship? does he pick up the phone now and call you? do you have any sort of a back and forth that could be helpful to both of you in this new environment? >> well, i did have a conversation with the president about the issue of s.t.a.r.t. and how to go about it, and it was a very cordial conversation, i think. but i have not had any other conversations but i look forward to working with him. i had a meeting with his new national security adviser and he covered a lot of bases. i look forward to working with the president and his new national security adviser. i'm a great admirer of the secretary of defense so we have certainly good grounds for cooperation and very dangerous world. >> senator john mccain, as always, appreciate your time, sir. >> thank you. >> take care, senator. when we return to tonight's top stories and the end of an era.
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by the senate. that's the republican leader mitch mccome. moments ago the majority leader, harry reid, announced the democrats were abandoning their plan to pass the omnibus spend ing bill, that giant 1,900-page, $1 trillion budget plan. they wanted to pass in the final days of this congress. leader reid because of the republican objections coming to the floor moments ago saying they will pull that bill from the floor. remember, it was $1 trillion, $8 billion in earmarks. harry reid says he will work with his republican counterpart on a continuation resolution, a shorter, more vague plan to keep the government funded into the new year. we'll continue to track this debate as it plays out now live in the united states senate. right now let's check in with joe johns for other news you need to know right now. snow anditis are making holiday travel a nightmare. the national weather service is issuing winter storm warnings
and advisories for more than a dozen states. the brunt of the system is poised to hit kentucky, virginia and west virginia. a homeland security intelligence bulletin obtained by cnn warned that terrorists might strike over the holidays. the u.s. counterterrorism official says there are no specific threats. the nigerian man accused of being the so-called underwear bomber was back in a detroit courtroom today pleading not gui guilty to new charges related to the terror attempt last christmas on a flight. if convicted he faces life in prison on the new charges and on six counts brought against him in early january. finally california governor arnold schwarzenegger proclaimed today larry king day. tonight, of course, is larry's final show. so that's certainly quite a big deal there. he's had an incredible run and the last few shows have been
just amazing. >> he is a legend. he is an institution of this network. he is, above all, a gentleman. it's been great to work with larry. larry is not going away. he's going to do specials for us from time to time. while i have you, i want to get your sense here. another win for the republicans. democrats wanted to push this man through. it's 2,000 pages. a trillion dollars. more specific, almost a budget. now they have to cut a deal with the republicans on c.r. it means not a detailed budget. >> one of the fascinating things you started talking about yesterday and the day before is there are a number of republicans who actually have earmarks in this big bill and now they're having to come out and sort of an awkward position and say i'm going to vote against this bill even though i have my own earmarks so it's put a lot of different people in unusual positions. >> all of those republicans saying i was for and now am against it. we'll keep on top of that story. let's reflect for a moment on the remarkable career of a cnn institution. all right. let's look back a little bit.
look at the question. who were the other big premieres in 1985? let's take a look. june 1985 new york governor mario cuomo was larry's first guest. other shows that premiered, the golden girls, macgyver. larry has had more staying power than those guys. try this at home. get your pencil. 53, 40,000 plus, nearly 10,000. have your answers ready. 53 years in broadcasting, larry on the radio before he came to cnn, of course. more than 40,000 interviews condu conducted by larry king. nearly 10,000 hours here on cnn. that is a remarkable legacy for larry. here is how you know larry has a lot of pull. 1.7 million followers on twitter. 1.9 for the president of the united states. larry is in it good company there. a good following in america. that will continue. and more than 8,100 light dots
on the original larry king set. again, larry is an institution. we wish him the best. he's leaving the 9:00 hour. piers morgan gets that. larry king will stay working on specials. what do you get when it's all over? a great party. take a look. there's the red carpet in laos angeles. a party for our friend tonight. it's too bad we're stuck here on the east coast. >> you've got that right. that's amazing. >> take a peek at that and we'll be back. [ sneezes ] client's here. whoa! that achy cold needs alka-seltzer plus! it rushes multiple cold fighters, plus a powerful pain reliever, wherever you need it! [ both ] ♪ oh what a relief it is!
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the president today released an update, an assessment of his afghanistan/pakistan strategy. let's take a choser look and start with this. what our current u.s. troop levels are. when the president became president, inaugurated, 34,400 troops. you see the surge under president obama, up to 95,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan today. that's about twice the number of troops in iraq now as the iraq number comes down, the afghanistan number has gone up. important to remember. the question is, is that troop surge working? look at the map here and let me explain the colors. if you see a dark green here, this is an independent province in afghanistan being run by the afghans. if you see the yellow, that means they have effective afghan government with with the help of some advisers. the orange is effective with some assistance from coalition partners. the red are the trouble spots in afghanistan. that means effective only with coalition forces and you see
it's a good chunk of the country including up here in the border with pakistan area, over this way. important to keep the taliban back to control these areas here. the red shows you the significant challenges still ahead and, remember, as you deal with the challenges on this side of the border, a lot of it is coming across this way and you have to deal with the stability issues in pakistan. that's one way to look at the challenge. another way to look at it is this way. with the increase in u.s. troops have also come a dramatic increase in 2010 in the attacks there, the more troops, the taliban fighting back to a degree. that underscores the challenge. the higher number of the attacks here. still, the president and the white house saying it's a tough road but he believes the new strategy is working. >> progress comes slowly and at a very high price in the lives of our men and women in up form. in many places the gains we've made are fragile and reversible. but there is no question we are clearing more areas from taliban
control and more afghans are reclaiming their communities. >> so key members of congress share the president's assessment and will he get the support for their plan going forward? let's head up to capitol hill, joined by two key members, keith ellison of minnesota is an opponent of this war and mike rogers, republican of michigan. next will be the chairman of the house intelligence committee and because of that, congressman rogers, let me start with you. we heard from the president today. you have his assessment. folks i've talked to in recent days essentially say this. the troop surge has gone well. the troops are doing a great jo gone pretty well. did a great job and karzai is still corrupt and unreliable and on the pakistani side, we can't get a consistent drive. is that a fair assessment? >> yes. it is. i would put in there, john, the iranian controlling commerce on the western side of afghanistan that has been pushing karzai into the hand of ahmadinejad here for the last probably 18 months so you have the dynamics happening at the same time.
>> with those dynamics happening, congressman ellie son, does the president deserve the funding or time to say it's not working? >> i'm skeptical. i do think that what our policy should be to disrupting, destroying al qaeda. we hear today they're further deteriorating and a year ago we heard a hundred of them in the country. i think we need to have a counterterrorism strategy there joining with the international community to help afghanistan build up the country but we have to see afghanistan in the picture in a larger global picture and as we fight terrorism and i think our military presence there may not be contributing positively to the larger fight going on around the world. >> does that mean end the military presence there as soon as possible? >> i'm not a supporter of the military presence there. i'm a supporter of troops there and i agree with congressman rogers that, yes, if you tell the soldiers to clear out an
area, they will clear it out. they're good at what they do but how does it figure into the larger picture trying to suppress terrorism in many places including the united states. >> congressman rodgers, you have the taliban trying to come back into power and some al qaeda presence in afghanistan, more across the border in pakistan. the reason for the mission, obviously, and yet what confidence do you have in the next several years, the president wants this all over by 2014 and make the progress with training the afghans and unable to make past nine years? >> here's the bigger problem, john. the political effort, the diplomatic effort and the military effort are not aligned yet. that's caused tremendous amount of problem. you are right. tell the military to take kandahar, they will and hold it as long as they tell you to and do a phenomenal job. but if the diplomatic and political effort here and there aren't aligned, the troops will
never be successful and i argue that they have not aligned all three of those efforts at the same time and i do believe that if they do, you can probably have a smaller troop footprint that targets al qaeda, that targets the areas of the cross border operations where taliban finds safe haven in the tribal areas of pakistan and i would argue you'll still have to have a pretty aggressive engagement with iran with the efforts in the western part of afghanistan. they're up to no good there and setting a timeline, a political equation, you tell karzai, gee, we'll be gone soon. who's the biggest friend in the neighborhood? it is iran right on their border. all of these conflicting problems between the political and the diplomatic and the military are causing us i think a delay in a successful mission in afghanistan. >> what would your solution then, sir, be with the problem of iran? how do you deal with it? >> first of all, let me back up.
you need to stabilize the taliban efforts in iraq. i argue you can do that with a smaller footprint. you need to encourage pakistani efforts in the tribal areas and we need to be aggressive about that border region, the line, where the taliban does find safe haven. the counsel meets in qetta and tell karzai, it's broader than karzai, the people of afghanistan, we're not going to walk away in july or whatever it is just because that's the timeline. we are going to leave when you're ready to take over and build your own country and until we get that all lined up, you will have problems. it is confusing. they don't know if when we're gone the taliban isn't large and in charge. certainly on the western part of afghanistan, the only commerce, the only place to get 24-hour electricity because the iranians run it across the border. all of those allegiances are incredibly important to people trying to make it in a tough
neighborhood. >> congressman, you heard congressman rodgers say you can't have an artificial deadline. we have to get this done and don't set a date on the calen r calendar. the president said he thinks the progress is because of his commitment to start a draw down next year and get out ultimately in 2014 and jane horman, she said this, we need a clear public timetable to end our military mission in afghanistan responsibly and soon. sounds like she wants to go more quickly than the president. who's right on this? >> i think jane and 60% of the american people agree with her. there are people in afghanistan like us to be there forever so the american troops do their fighting for them. afghanistan is a sovereign nation. they need to stand up quick. they need to deal with corruption, deal with developing the country and deal with the security. and on the issue of diplomacy, i'd also like to add that one of the things that i hope we begin
to do is we begin to engage india more constructively. we need to get the players in the region and include iran for stability to the region, otherwise it's a sinkhole, a quagmire and as many writers have famously said, it's an empire of empires and i don't want my country going down that hole. >> thank you both. >> thank you. we called pete dominic and he looks at washington and doesn't quite understand what's going on. pete, after the break. questions about retirement? i talk to their retirement account specialists. bonds? grab the phone. fixed-income specialist. td ameritrade knows investors sometimes need real, live help. not just one broker... a whole team there to help... to help me decide what's right for me. people with answers at td ameritrade. get up to $500 when you open an account.
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